Day 128: Ghyaru (Annapurna Circuit) – October 23rd

Waking up in the early morning, it was extra difficult to climb out of our sleeping bag as it’s gotten ridiculously cold as we trek further into the mountains. Checking the temperature, it was only 6C in the room! Brushing and washing is now a freezing cold chore as the water is probably colder than 6C. That’s life in the mountains I guess!

The morning walks are usually the easiest, as you’re well rested from last night and you have a belly full of breakfast (which has been massive pancakes almost everyday!) to keep you going. Before you know it, you’ve walked 2hrs and hit a stop. This stop was slightly different, as the town was actually only 1 hotel instead of the 5-6 you’d usually see, but the best part was this village has an apple farm! It’s been a while since we’ve had fruits, and we need some vitamins. It also helps that the apples were crispy and delicious. Yay.

We continued to trek higher and higher in altitude, and you can feel the vegetation change. The trees become taller, and evergreens start to dominate the landscape, and glaciers slowly come into view. Think so far, this part of the trek has been the nicest, most “in-our-element” kind of trek, until we realized “Oh boy, this looks totally like Canada eh?”. And for lunch, we ate at a hotel built out of wooden logs, and one tourist made a loud remark “Wow, wooden log cabins, now we’re really in Canada!”. Turns out she was Australian.

We wanted to stay in this lesser-known village mainly because we’ve heard that this place offers spectacular views of Annapurna II. And during our whole trek, we were definitely in for a treat with the weather and the mountains majestically peering down on us. Problem was, the 400m elevation increase that was required was not done gradually but it came at the very end!!! Thinking we’d have an easy way to our destination of Gyaru as our map says it was only 1hr away, boy were we wrong. Turns out, it wasn’t a gradual slope but instead it was a 400m vertical climb. Standing at the base of the road, it wasn’t fun. And even our porter looked pretty annoyed, making us pretty annoyed with him once again. Dude, do your job. And, after exactly 1hr, we made it to the top but that was not 1hr of trekking we’d like to do again…

As the elevation increases, the temps start dropping and the winds start chilling into the bone. At the village though, it was definitely worth’d as we found a very small (only has 2 guest rooms) hotel, which was 1 of 2 in the village. This one was less popular for some strange reason (maybe because it was 50m further than the first one, and people didn’t want to walk much after that painful climb), because it has an un-obstructed view of the mountains. Wow! Definitely worth the trip. Problem was though, it was fucking freezing.

Lighting a fire under the stove to cook food, we also huddled around the stove to keep warm. Even in my hiking boots my feet were cold. These locals wear flip-flops!! After dinner, it was 6:30pm and it was way too early to sleep despite being pitch dark already.

So we hung around the stove as locals dotted in and out, and this is where we meet the coolest Nepalese farmer on the planet. First, he has a dog named Jackie Chan. The dog’s father is actually called Jet Li. The dog’s grandfather is called Bruce Li. We like him already! Then, the radio starts playing some hiphop and he asks us “Do you know who sings this song, Akon. This next song, she’s a black woman but if you look closely she reminds me of a man. Her name is Tracy Chapman”. Okay… this guy herds yaks and grows wheat in the middle of nowhere along the mountain side of Nepal, and he has even more American pop-culture knowledge than we do! He then goes on a rant about how Tupac was the best rapper of all time (no argument necessary there), and tells us folk stories of how the village was named. Asking us where we’re from, his second guess was Canton, which most people in other countries wouldn’t even know about. So apparently, he used to do business in Hong Kong selling khukuri swords and buddhist antiques. He lived in Tsim Sha Tsui and took the MTR across to HK island to do business. And finally, he told us a killer joke. His dog’s name is really Jacky, but if he meets Chinese people he calls him Jacky Chan, but when Americans come he calls him Jacky Brown! Haha, so hilarious. Jacky Chan is such a cute and obedient dog, but apparently he has hearing problems and lost an eye because one time while herding cattle Jacky Chan was attacked by a wolf/leopard and came back injured. The little guy made it through, and now he just constantly stays next to his cool owner. Jacky also has a cool haircut, with a clean furry top half and a “rhasta” style on the bottom half (exact words from his Nepalese farmer owner…rhasta).

Man, what a guy. Such an interesting place with interesting people!

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